The Safari got nowhere on Patch 1 the n drove to work noting nothing out of tthe ordinary apart from a Herring Gull paddling about in R'ouzel Puddle. The sea at Patch 2 was pretty useless until a couple of Gannets were found and from nowhere we had a nice stream of Arctic Terns, totalling about 30 but there was some to-ing and fro-ing as the hawked and dipped along a bit of a rip someway offshore and some Sandwich Terns go past. Two Grey Seals were pick of the morning.
No lunchtime Patch 2 safari today instead we met up with other members of BEAT Naturewatch and Young Un JS to check out a potential Grass Snake habitat, where last summer one may well have been seen by some groundsmen moving a pile of wood that had lain untouched for some time. We found a small Frog and some tadpoles so prey is present and on the other side of the fence was some good looking damp rough grassland - perfect. Unwittingly the groundsmen had also started a compost heap of grass cuttings; in a fairly good location too! JS has been tasked with keeping a watch on the site and a couple of black carpet tiles have been judiciously placed along with a modified log pile to help him...fingers crossed he strikes gold.
After the meeting ended we mozied on down to the big park with the hope of catching up with the Wood Warbler but with no news from the morning it was highly likely it had gone overnight.
There seemed to be a distinct lack of Willow Warblers and Blackcaps in the area where yesterday the Wood warbler was seen, only minutes after we left...dooohhhh, but we hung around a while and scanned the emerging canopy just in case.
With no joy we decided to walk across to the nature reserve in the vain attempt to find a Whinchat. Before we'd gone more than a few paces we saw something we've never seen before, a Treecreeper having a right old splash in a puddle at the base of a large tree, unfortunately it evaded the lens as we crept a few millimetres too close...darn it!!! We did see a second one a little later but that was too high up in the tree for a decent shot. Lower and, more importantly, bigger was this Mistle Thrush.
A brisk walk across the field follwed and when we got to the rough fields so often favoured by Whinchats on passage we scanned the fence posts and stunted bushes...not a sniff. A few Whitethroats were churring away from the depths of the rank vegetation but that was about it. In the distance we spotted a Sparrowhawk.More worryingly we spotted this gawp.
Wot no safety gear when cutting at head height? But more importantly it's the beginning of May and he's adjacent to a Local Nature Reserve and County Biological Heritage Site do you think he has had a peer reviewed ecologist check for nests, or even done it himself? He must know there's wildlife about as miles of new Great Crested Newt fencing appeared only feet away from where he's stood last week. And he's cutting off all the flowers, so no berries for the winter visitors on this hedge next autumn. Why is he doing it? To make it look 'tidy' of course! Tidy is cr*p!!!
Disillusioned we headed back to the park passing a few Swallows swooping low over the field as drizzle started.
In the far corner of the lake was the hybrid Red Crested Pochard thingy...or is it a real one dropped in on the recent weather?
Overhead about a dozen House Martins and a similar number of Swallows swooped about to the sound of a not too distant thunder clap. Time to head back to the Land Rover before the big black cloud unleashed its deluge on us.
The deluge took longer to reach us than we thought it was going to and that gave us (yet) another chance to snap away at some gulls in flight when a bread thrower appeared.
Bit noisy with high ISO under the gloom of a jet black cloud and after all that the deluge never happened...
Where to next? Will the moth trap go on tonight - it certainly will tomorrow night, but before that there may well be an early morning safari to the nature reserve...in the frost! May Bank Holiday Weekend has built an excellent reputation for turning up a decent migrant at the nature reserve over the years- fingers crossed this one produces the goods too.In the meantime let us know what never happened in your outback.